The Olympic Dam case, South Australia - Uranium Mining

The Olympic Dam case, South Australia - Uranium Mining

EDO South Australia represented, Mr Kevin Buzzacott, in his Federal Court challenge to the Federal Environment Minister’s approval of the expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium and copper mine, which would make it the biggest in the world. Mr Buzzacott (known as Uncle Kevin) is an Aboriginal Elder of the Arabunna Nation in South Australia.

Mr Buzzacott argued that the Minister did not properly consider the impact of the Olympic Dam expansion on the environment, in particular the above ground storage of radioactive tailings waste and the impacts on groundwater resources including the Great Artesian Basin.

Ultimately, the open cut pit will be approximately 1 km deep and 4 km wide, and the radioactive tailings (waste) will be stored above ground covering an area of up to 40 square kilometres.

The court dismissed Mr Buzzacott’s case. However the project was later put on hold by mining giant BHP Billiton after an investment review, due to low commodity prices.